The development of digital experiences that please the consumer is one of the major concerns of any CMO.
The idea is to provide the audience with experiences appropriate to their characteristics and needs, motivating them to move towards the purchasing decision.
Today, especially in the SaaS market, part of this journey takes place in the product itself.
The way the consumer experiences their first contact with the product is crucial to their long-term relationship with the company. If satisfied, users will become more likely to acquire your solutions and turn into loyal clients.
Given the importance of this matter, investing in product experience (PX) strategies has become indispensable.
However, to apply these ideas, it is necessary to consider various factors, seeking to apply proven practices and techniques.
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Product Experience: How Did we Get to this Point?
The idea of product experience arises as a response to modern consumer needs and demands.
With vast access to information and a wide range of possibilities, the consumer 4.0, as defined by Philip Kotler, gives preference to brands that offer the best experiences.
That’s why the most efficient marketing efforts are those that get to engage this new public, creating a positive feeling that positions the brand at the top of the client’s mind.
To reach this goal, it is necessary to offer complete user experiences, delighting the audience since the first interaction.
What is Product Experience?
Product experience, as one of the subsets in the user experience department, aims at improving the part of the consumer’s journey that takes place within the product.
It is a concept already widely explored in the advertising world, especially for adding value to brands and products.
Take as an example some of the most successful companies in the world, like Apple and Adidas.
What do they have in common? Besides a lot of money, an extremely loyal public, which is willing to pay more for the products offered by them than buying similar products from competitors, even for lower prices.
To reach this level, these companies have adopted an approach that focuses on selling the experience, not the product itself.
Of course, much of this process takes place outside the sphere of PX — branding strategies, paid ads, etc. However, if the product does not offer an excellent experience, the whole strategy goes downhill.
In other words, Apple and Adidas products, back to the example, need to be as good and delightful as their advertising campaigns make them seem.
When the clients perceive this, they start to trust the brand, even more, getting closer to becoming brand advocates.
Naturally, the concept doesn’t apply only to giant companies, such as those mentioned above. Companies of all sizes and sectors can (and should) include PX in their strategies.
As we mentioned in the introduction, one of the markets in which the growth of the PX idea is most remarkable is SaaS. It takes the form of free trials and beta versions, for example, which allow the user to “taste” the product before buying it.
In the next topic, we will show why this is so important.
Product Experience vs Customer Experience
Product experience and customer experience do have certain things in common.
Both terms refer to the quality of a customer’s personal experience with a particular brand. Both are essential factors when it comes to keeping your customers happy, as well.
However, product experience is solely about that customer’s experience with your company via your products and services. The happier they are with your product, the better an impression they will have of your brand.
Customer experience, on the other hand, is about the bigger picture of how they may interact with your company.
Product experience may be part of this for those who have purchased from you before, but so are customer service exchanges, social media interactions, and person-to-person interactions with brand reps that may not have much to do with the actual products.
Think of product experience as one branch of the larger customer experience concept — a very large branch, as the average customer spends a lot of time engaging with a company’s products.
Why is Product Experience important?
As you have already seen in the last few paragraphs, product experience is a significant factor in satisfying consumers and thus establishing lasting relationships.
Moreover, it is a method of adding value to brands and products involved in campaigns. But why does it happen?
Plenty has to do with confidence. Before making a purchase, the modern consumer doesn’t spare efforts on searching for information about the product and the company.
This is one of the factors that explain the success of Content Marketing strategies.
However, a study conducted by TrustRatios indicated that, although consumers value information obtained from blogs and product websites, they place much more trust in their own experience with the product.
Check out the graph below:
Investing in PX is, therefore, fundamental to building consumer trust and maximizing your brand’s reputation. It creates an element of differentiation, fundamental to increasing sales volume, especially in more competitive markets.
Optimizing the SaaS Strategy
Remember how we mentioned the growth of PX significance in the software market?
Here is a good explanation. Besides the benefits already mentioned, companies that sell applications have access to something precious from PX: insights to optimize the strategy.
It is possible to analyze the behavior of users and identify, for example, the aspects that they consider most valuable and the features that they do not use very often.
This can avoid the inefficient spending of resources, as this Pendo research indicates.
According to the study, about 80% of SaaS features are rarely used by users, adding up to about $30 billion in wasted budget.
By following the user experience in the software, you will also understand the main doubts that appear in the onboarding process.
Solving them will remove negative elements from the experience, generating consumer satisfaction and facilitating the creation of brand ambassadors.
What Should you Consider Before Launching your PX Strategy?
As in every digital strategy, you need to maintain a consumer-oriented approach.
The commitment to promoting better product experiences must be part of the company’s culture. For this, development teams must count on adequate tools to analyze user behavior.
Without investment in analytics, it is not possible to fully exploit your product’s potential.
From the data available in intelligence reports, it is viable to make the necessary changes to improve users’ way of interacting with the product.
In this process, it is essential to create an environment that motivates user feedback. Nobody is better than the customer to evaluate the product experience, so stay very attentive to what your audience has to say.
Following discussion forums and comments on social media are fundamental in this sense.
Also, if possible, your product should count on a platform that allows user interaction, opening space for feedback.
With feedback incentives and constant monitoring of behavior data, you make room for improving consumer engagement, which is one of the pillars of a successful PX strategy.
Monitor the ups and downs of the engagement rate to understand which aspects of your products are most favorable to the user experience. After conducting this study, modify elements that can improve PX.
In the following, we will read some factors that influence this concept, addressing mainly the software industry.
Fit for purpose
While developing your PX strategy, it is important to consider the fit for purpose, that is, whether the product has the necessary features to meet the user’s needs.
Sensory design refers to how the product appeals to the consumer, whether from its visual, touch, sound, etc.
The greater the product usability, the more satisfied the consumer will be. This factor refers to the easiness that the user finds in using the product.
A good product experience should be intuitive, with easy-to-learn features, eliminating excessive trial and error processes.
This aspect of PX has to do with the product’s ability to deliver customized experiences according to user preferences.
No one has patience for slow experiences. It is essential to consider the product’s speed and responsiveness during the PX strategy.
Who is Involved in a Product Experience Strategy?
A customer’s product experience includes every interaction they’ll have regarding that product, so it should be a company-wide priority. The teams and departments involved include the following.
Product experience starts with the impression created before the customer even makes a purchase. Success here can be measured via factors like trial sign-ups and the number of qualified marketing leads generated.
Product Development Team
This team is responsible for the vision of a product, as well as the value it brings to the table for the customer. It’s also in charge of user experience factors like the adoption of additional features, upgrades, etc.
Sales reps are naturally going to be responsible for introducing consumers to the product and selling them on the benefits of buying, upgrading, or adding to it over time. They’re also accountable for helping leads make it all the way through the sales funnel.
Customer Success Personnel
This team is in charge of onboarding customers and helping them through the orientation process with a product. Pleasant, ongoing engagement is a critical factor in how well this team functions.
How to Build a PX Strategy
Most product experience strategies can be broken down into three different components, and paying attention to each is crucial to success. They are as follows.
All users need active, ongoing engagement with a brand if they’re going to be turned into loyal customers who can’t imagine their lives without your product. (This is the case whether they’ve actually made a purchase yet or not.)
Reaching out to a customer every so often not only keeps churn rates low but increases the likelihood that an occasional user eventually becomes a frequent (or even daily) user.
Email outreach, in-app guides, and segmented onboarding can help here.
Today’s consumers have incredibly high standards, and the only way to know for sure whether you’re meeting them is to collect regular, detailed feedback.
Try implementing segmented surveys and similar approaches to improve feedback quality.
All successful brands leverage comprehensive data to improve existing products and develop new ones, so analytics is a big part of every product experience strategy.
You can use yours to better figure out how adept different users are at navigating their way around your product, as well as identify problem points that may need to be addressed.
Analytics can help your customer outreach team better identify upselling opportunities.
8 Tips to Improve Product Experience
Naturally, even a terrific approach to product experience can always be just a little bit better. Here are a few killer tips for improving yours and making sure it’s everything it can be.
1. Add a welcome screen to your product
Nearly half of SaaS products — about 40 percent — don’t include welcome screens as part of the experience. However, the 60 percent that do also provide a better, more accessible user experience across the board.
That said, a welcome screen may seem inconsequential, but it can make a huge positive impression on a customer. It’s a way to make your users feel valued and welcomed right off the bat.
Welcome screens also make great lead-ins to additional introductory questions that personalize a user’s experience and help a product better meet their needs and expectations.
2. Implement adaptive onboarding to help orient users
The more complex your product is, the more important your onboarding process becomes. However, standard onboarding practices typically give the user a generic tour before leaving them to figure out everything else on their own.
In many cases, this isn’t enough to help a new user genuinely get the hang of the product.
Shifting your onboarding to a more invasive, persistent approach isn’t necessarily the answer, either, as it could irritate some users.
Instead, try implementing an adaptive method that evolves according to what a user needs or is trying to accomplish with the product at any given time.
This helps the process feel more personalized and makes it more useful overall.
3. Ensure your product looks good
Let’s face it. Looks may not be everything, but they certainly matter, and this is just as much the case with apps and software interfaces as it is anything else.
So definitely put some thought into the aesthetic of your product.
People automatically tend to perceive attractive, thoughtfully designed products as easier to use and just plain better all around.
Choose clean, streamlined designs that minimize clutter and make it easy to find what you’re looking for. Add engaging visuals where necessary.
4. Make your help and FAQ documents part of the product
Most SaaS companies host any documents dedicated to helping users or answering their questions outside of the product itself.
However, while people are used to having to leave a product to find additional information they need, this isn’t ideal.
You can improve the product experience and set your brand apart by embedding such documents into the software itself.
You’ll make a positive impression on your users and better meet rising consumer expectations.
5. Reduce the learning curve as much as possible
Every product — especially any type of functional software — comes with a learning curve, and your customers expect that.
But it’s also important to understand that a user won’t start getting value out of your product until that learning period is complete.
It’s at that point the user will really begin to fall in love with that product, so you want to get them there as quickly and simply as possible. Otherwise, you risk them losing interest and eventually looking for what they need somewhere else.
Try leading your customers through the process of mastering the product with an onboarding checklist.
Just don’t make the list too long. The idea is to simplify the process and show the user just how easy this product is going to make their life.
6. Collect (and listen to) user feedback
Make it a point to check in with your users to see how they like the product, especially when they’re new and still trying things out. You can do this in several different ways, including:
- Email outreach
- User surveys
- Mobile web or SMS
- Social media
- Embedded feedback functions within the product
Again, remember: today’s consumers are moving toward a preference for embedded resources that don’t require them to exit the product, so give some serious thought to that method.
The easier you make it for your customers to provide you with feedback, the more likely they are to actually do it.
And be sure to listen to the feedback you receive, as well.
This includes unsolicited feedback you might receive when you witness customers talking candidly about your product on social media and other review sites.
7. Be hyper-responsive when your customers reach out
Even the most patient of your customers doesn’t want to be left waiting for long when they need help or assistance with your product.
According to research, 90 percent of modern consumers say it’s important to them to receive an immediate response to questions or concerns.
How soon is “immediate” to most people? According to the same research, it’s ten minutes or less, so the sooner you can get back to your customers, the better.
Take special care to quickly respond to premium customers, especially during peak times of the day.
Follow up after to make sure they’re happy with the help they received, as well as your response approach, in general.
8. Consider all users when enhancing product experience
Most products will see two different types of users.
The first type is your primary user, the user most likely to own or have purchased the product.
The second type is an invited user. Invited users may be team members or additional users added to the product at a later date, likely by the primary user or another authority figure.
Although both types of users will rely on the product and need to understand how to get the most out of it, many products only onboard the primary user. This leaves invited users at a bit of a loss.
You can significantly improve your product experience by taking these secondary users into consideration.
Otherwise, you risk them never getting any value out of your product and quite possibly failing to use it, which may eventually affect their company’s interest in continuing to pay for it.
Provide invited users with a customized onboarding experience to help them get the hang of things.
You may also wish to create a “practice section” within your product so that new users can learn the ropes and put the product through its paces without worrying about critical mistakes that might affect their entire team.
How are Brands using PX?
Now that you understand what product experience is, its importance, and what you should consider while applying the strategy, let’s turn to some practical examples. Keep reading!
One of the main concerns of eCommerce customers is having regrets after making a purchase.
With this in mind, L’oreal’s PX team has developed a creative way of dealing with the situation. They have designed software that allows prospects to try the products out before buying them — all in a completely virtual way.
How does it work? Through an interactive platform based on artificial intelligence principles.
Just access one of the product pages in the virtual store and click “tap & try”.
Then, just upload an old photo or take a new one and wait. The software will illustrate the changes that the product will bring to your look.
Coca-Cola is a true reference in the world of product experience. Even in the face of criticism related to the negative effects of prolonged consumption of soda, the brand never loses relevance.
This has to do, of course, with extensive branding and advertising campaigns.
More than that, however, Coca-Cola gives special importance to the experience provided by its products.
Remember that we cited sensory design as one of the elements that influence PX? Take a look at this Coca-Cola commercial and see if you notice anything special.
Realize how, after years of running campaigns associating the sound of a can/bottle opening with a feeling of refreshment, relief, and happiness, the company decided to prove how it is already consolidated in the mind of the consumer.
In the video, we watch mute images that are easily related to the sound of a soft drink being opened. Is it or not a remarkable product experience?
Focusing on product experience (PX) is a must to offer complete digital experiences to your consumers. Using the right techniques, it is feasible to expand your organic reach and create an extremely loyal customer base.
Interested in continuing your studies on how to increase consumer satisfaction?
In this text, we explain how you can use content experiences to boost your marketing results. Check it out!